Oil and gas: Govt to pick heads of companies by Dec-end

Sunday, November 30th, 2014 4:26:34 by

ISLAMABAD: The government is all set to appoint permanent heads of state-owned oil and gas companies including oil marketing giant Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and major explorer Pakistan Petroleum Limited by the end of December this year.

Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources Secretary Abid Saeed stated this while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources here on Friday.

The remarks came in the face of repeated criticism of the government for delay in hiring the heads of vital oil and gas exploration, production and marketing companies.

Senator Mohammad Yousaf chaired the meeting, which was attended by Amjad Janjua, Acting Managing Director of PSO, high officials of the petroleum ministry, officials of the National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Establishment Division.

FIA officials told the committee that they had received complaints from the Prime Minister’s Office in 2013 that four senior officials of PSO had allowed import of substandard furnace oil.

According to FIA Inspector Abdul Rauf Sheikh, 60,000 tons of furnace oil worth Rs4.5 billion was imported from Malaysia through vessel MT Balochistan, but its quality was found to be substandard.

Moreover, Rs650 million was spent by company officials on foreign trips and an oil supply contract was awarded to the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation without floating any tender.

The committee chairman asked the FIA officials why they permitted the import of poor-quality oil, which caused a loss of billions of rupees to the national kitty and why the quality was not checked at the time of purchase.

The FIA men argued that all imports were being made according to set rules and regulations and there was also nothing wrong with the oil when it was purchased. Some black sheep, according to them, changed the good-quality furnace oil with the substandard one during the journey and an investigation must be initiated to look into this point.

The committee directed the FIA to present all details of its findings as early as possible, but the investigating agency sought two-month time.

Briefing the panel members, NAB officials said at present three cases were being investigated against PSO officials, of which two were related to Sindh and one to Balochistan.

It is probing the sale and purchase of a plot in Karachi worth Rs28.5 million, theft of 2,258 tons of oil in Muzaffargarh district and oil supply to Afghanistan via Quetta and Chaman where some irregularities were reported.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2014.

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